The Federal Government owns the St. Anthony Falls Lock, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. USACE has two Congressional authorizations for the site: navigation and flood management. Navigation authorization was suspended in 2015 by an act of Congress. The Corps is now undertaking a disposition study for the entire series of Locks serving the Upper River, including the Upper Lock, the Lower Lock, and Lock 1.
The City of Minneapolis was a cost sharing partner with the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the development of the initial civil works project, having contributed not only dollars, dredging rights, and land, but also making adjustments to 12 bridges along the navigation corridor in order to enable barge traffic to serve the Upper Harbor. The City has a strong interest in the future of the Lock as a civic and public amenity in keeping with adopted plans. In June of 2017, the City passed a resolution to include a request for $1.5 million pre-design dollars in its 2018 bonding request. A final request was submitted to Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) in October 2017. MMB staff and state legislators toured the Lock with the City and FL&D in the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.
The National Park Service secured a use agreement for visitor services on the Lock in 2016, shortly after the closure of the Lock to navigation, and that usage was expanded in 2017. The National Park Service's nonprofit partner, Mississippi Park Connection, has invested in programming and activation of the Lock with support from Friends of the Lock & Dam. The National Parks Conservation Association undertook visioning for the Lock in 2016, resulting in the creation of an Ideas Book. A National Park Visitor Center is one of the most desired program elements for the site.
The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board included a policy directive in its Central Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan, adopted in 2015, recommending a visitor center on the Lock. The site abuts Water Works Park and Mill Ruins Park, both owned by the Park Board. Friends of the Lock & Dam envisions seamless connectivity between Water Works Park and The Falls, which, if successful, will be perceived and experienced by visitors as one large park. The Park Board passed a resolution of support for the City's funding request at the Lock, and committed to coordination.
Meet Minneapolis, the convention and tourism association, recommends building an iconic visitors center on the Central Riverfront in its tourism master plan, Destination Transformation 2030. Meet Minneapolis would have a presence in the facility, which would become a hub of activity and information about what the region has to offer.
The Minnesota State Legislature is considering the City's request for $1.5 million for predesign in the 2018 legislative session. In February 2018, Senators Champion, Hayden, and Dziedzic introduced S.F. No. 2707: A bill for an act relating to capital investment; appropriating money for Upper St. Anthony Lock redevelopment; authorizing the sale and issuance of state bonds. The bill was referred to the Committee on Capital Investment.
Future actions of government at the municipal, state, and federal level will be necessary for The Falls to be implemented. Strong coordination is already taking place to establish a critical path for the project with the goal of beginning construction on the project in 2021/2022.
- March 2018 – RESOLUTION: a detailed resolution of support for repurposing the Upper Lock passes the City of Minneapolis Council Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.
- January 2018 – the City of Minneapolis toured the Lock with members of the Minnesota Senate, their staff, and Friends of the Lock & Dam.
- October 2017 – the City of Minneapolis toured the Lock with members of the Minnesota House of Representatives, their staff, and Friends of the Lock & Dam.
- October 2017 – Request submitted by the City of Minneapolis to the Minnesota Management and Budget office for $1.5 million state dollars for redevelopment of the St. Anthony Falls Upper Lock.
- September 2017 – Letter from City and Park Board sent to Assistant Secretary of the Army in support of the project.
- June 2017 – RESOLUTION: City of Minneapolis passed a Resolution on State Bond Request including a $1.5 million request for predesign dollars to redevelop the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock.
- May 2017 - Letter from City and Park Board to Director of Planning at US Army Corps of Engineers in support of the project.
- May 2017 – RESOLUTION: Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board passed a Resolution of support for City State Bond Request for Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock.
- Historical Action – City entered into Cost Sharing Agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and undertook work to implement commercial navigation on the Upper River.
- March 2018 – H.F. 2989 is heard by the House Capital Committee, introduced by Rep. Dehn and with testimony by Mayor Jacob Frey, The Falls project manager Kjersti Monson, and Friends of the Lock & Dam lead counsel Sam Kaplan. Read about it here.
- February 2018 – Senators Champion, Hayden and Dziedzic introduced S.F. No. 2707; and Representatives Dehn, Omar, Lee, and Wagenius introduced H.F. 2989: A bill for an act relating to capital investment; appropriating money for Upper St. Anthony Lock redevelopment; authorizing the sale and issuance of state bonds.
- January 2018 – Members of the Capital Investment Committee, Minnesota Senate toured the Lock with the City of Minneapolis and Friends of the Lock & Dam.
- October 20 – Minnesota Management and Budget office received City of Minneapolis request for $1.5 million predesign dollars for redevelopment of the Lock
- October 10, 2017 – Members of the Capital Investment Committee, Minnesota House of Representatives, toured the Lock with the City of Minneapolis and Friends of the Lock & Dam.
- October 2, 2017 – Staff from Minnesota Management & Budget office toured the Lock with the City of Minneapolis and Friends of the Lock & Dam.
- April 2018 – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers disposition study kickoff.
- August 2017 – After a review of the federal interest, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision meeting determination is to proceed with a disposition study including consideration of the Upper Lock, Lower Lock, and Lock 1, and to seek funding in FY 2018.
- June 2017 – National Park Service expanded tours and summer activation on the Lock, including “Illuminate the Lock” event organized by Mississippi Park Connection and Northern Spark.
- March 2016 – National Park Service obtained Use Agreement from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct visitor tours on the Lock.
- 2015 – US Army Corps navigation authorization suspended at Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock by Congressional directive.